Earlier this month, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig left the Vanderbilt Commodores’ staff for the same position with the Utah Utes.
Ludwig previously served as the Utes’ play caller from 2005-08, before taking over as California’s offensive coordinator. The Utah native had been on Derek Mason’s staff at Vandy since 2015.
Losing an offensive coordinator just a month before National Signing Day certainly isn’t ideal. But fortunately for Mason and the Commodores, there are several quality options that could be a good fit in Nashville.
Here are a few names I think Vandy fans should keep an eye on.
Pep Hamilton — Michigan, assistant head coach/quarterbaks
Hamilton is an obvious choice and would be a home run hire. The Charlotte native coached with Mason at Stanford, where Hamilton served as Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator. Hamilton then made the jump to the NFL, serving as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator. He’s also spent time as a quarterbacks coach with the Browns. He’s been back with Harbaugh since 2017, but becoming an offensive coordinator again would help Hamilton on his ascent back up the coaching ladder.
Mike Sanford Jr — Utah State, offensive coordinator
Sanford would make a lot of sense for Vanderbilt. He coached with Mason at Stanford, and he also coached running backs at Stanford (which is what Ludwig was coaching at Vanderbilt). Sanford, who worked as Brian Kelly’s offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, was recently fired as Western Kentucky’s head coach. He took his current position at Utah State in mid December, but it’s certainly possible that he could pull a Kliff Kingsbury — especially if he wants a shot in the SEC.
Larry Smith — UAB, wide receivers coach
Smith is a former Vanderbilt quarterback who started 27 games in his collegiate career. Smith has coached at UAB since 2016. Prior to his time at UAB, he served as quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville State. UAB won an impressive 11 games in 2018 under head coach Bill Clark.
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